Firstly, we have now had a year since Brexit was implemented.
There is still work going on to tidy up the edges on this issue and I speak as a member of the European Statutory Instruments Committee, which mainly cleans up leftover legislative references to the EU that were not dealt with in the ‘big’ treaties.
It will be several more years before this tidying up exercise is complete, but I think it is worth remembering what we were told what would happen if Brexit was implemented.
We were told the economy would collapse, our shelves would be empty of basic goods and what food remained would be so contaminated with chlorine that poison gas would all but be emitted directly into our faces at breakfast time.
These breathless prognostications of doom have, needless to say, not come true.
Even with the burdens of Covid, the UK has the fastest growing economy in the G7, the shelves remain stocked with food and other basic provisions, and unsurprisingly, none of it is riddled with poison gas.
One of my colleagues on the south coast, the likeable young MP Anthony Mangnall, represents the fishing port of Brixham.
He has just been in the national press in the last few days being interviewed about how business is booming, and the town has just had not just a good year, but the best year on record, with a record £44 million in sales of fish, much of it still to the EU.
‘Despite Brexit’, as some in the media say.
We have also just signed off on a new trade deal with Australia worth more than £10 billion, and ending tariffs on all UK exports, which is further fantastic news for the UK economy (and the Australian one).
The truth is that Brexit, even in the challenging circumstances brought about by Covid, is delivering for Britain.
Let’s not forget, if it had been down to the EU, we’d still have been waiting for our vaccines months after we actually got them, but the freedom Brexit afforded us enabled us to effectively get a lengthy head start on everyone else in Europe.
There is no room for complacency, but I’m firmly of the view that if we can make a success of Brexit during Covid, the biggest public health crisis for over a hundred years since the Spanish Flu hit Europe in the aftermath of World War One, the future looks very bright indeed for us once everything returns to normal.
Despite Brexit? No, because of it. That’s why most of you voted for it, after all.
On less positive news, many of you will have seen the recent judgment in the case regarding the Edward Colston statue in Bristol, which was torn down during a riot. To my mind, this was a clear case of vandalism and I was shocked when a not guilty verdict was handed down by the jury on the grounds that the statue was ‘offensive’.
Statues are public property and the only way they should be removed is through a democratic vote of the local authority on the basis of clear and overwhelming public support.
I hope that the Government will legislate to ensure such a verdict can never be delivered again.
There is barely a statue in the country that someone or other does not find offensive for some reason or another.
Allowing this judgement to set a precedent will inevitably lead to mobs tearing down statues until none of them are left anywhere and we would all be the poorer for that.
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